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The Importance of Place Names in the Search for Ecosystem-Like Concepts in Indigenous Societies: An Example from the Bolivian Andes.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23142952     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
This paper aims to deepen the search for ecosystem-like concepts in indigenous societies by highlighting the importance of place names used by Quechua indigenous farmers from the central Bolivian Andes. Villagers from two communities in the Tunari Mountain Range were asked to list, describe, map and categorize the places they knew on their community's territory. Results show that place names capture spatially explicit units which integrate biotic and abiotic nature and humans, and that there is an emphasis on topographic terms, highlighting the importance of geodiversity. Farmers' perspectives differ from the classical view of ecosystems because they 'humanize' places, considering them as living beings with agency. Consequently, they do not make a distinction between natural and cultural heritage. Their perspective of the environment is that of a personalized, dynamic relationship with the elements of the natural world that are perceived as living entities. A practical implication of the findings for sustainable development is that since places names make the links between people and the elements of the landscape, toponymy is a tool for ecosystem management rooted in indigenous knowledge. Because place names refer to holistic units linked with people's experience and spatially explicit, they can be used as an entry point to implement an intercultural dialogue for more sustainable land management.
Authors:
Sébastien Boillat; Elvira Serrano; Stephan Rist; Fikret Berkes
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-11-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental management     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1009     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ Manage     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-12     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7703893     Medline TA:  Environ Manage     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, 303-70 Dysart Road, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2M6, Canada, boillat@cc.umanitoba.ca.
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